Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

“The Shibari Series”, Part 4

August 8, 2017

Young RedTail Hawk, Jane Kohut-Bartels, watercolor

Thank you to those who are reading this series.  I know it isn’t an easy read.  Many have criticized this series, but they, by and large, haven’t read beyond the first few parts.  or so they said.  Empowerment and transformation can be pictured in many ways.  And strength is many times forged by facing  brutal opposition.  At least that is the way I have experienced it.  We all have our own ways growth and empowerment.  

Lady Nyo

Continuing the transformation…..


I flew high but it was spring, and the weak thermals did not support my flight. I was hungry, without food, except for the spider. A freshly fledged hawk must learn how to fend for herself.  Beginnings are dangerous.

Cupping my wings, I hovered over a stream, watching the ice break apart far below. Three days of freedom had left me weak, confused and with a troubling need.  Breaking my bindings I was now lost, abandoned to nature, cold and alone.

“Hep-Hep-Hep”.  I heard the ‘call-in’ of the falconer below me, as I floated over the landscape.  Seeing the whirling lure with a rabbit head was too much.  Starved, I spiraled downwards, landing with a thump.

“Good Girl” I heard as the man beckoned me to his glove covered with fresh meat. As I mantled over and stepped up, he slipped a jess upon my left leg, another with silver bells on the right.

“Good Girl” I heard again as he tied me tightly to a perch.

“Good Girl” as the hood slipped over my head.

At least no one whips a hawk. And there is always the sky.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017

(this entire series (and more) can be read in the new edition of “A Seasoning of Lust”, published , December 2016, by





“The Shibari Series”, Part Three

August 3, 2017


I know this is a strange series, and probably something I wouldn’t write today.  But I did write it  and I remember the period being of great psychic pain.  We work out of our predicaments by writing, if we are writers.  That is the gift and blessing.

Lady Nyo

Again, I am restrained on all sides, a fly trapped in the stickiness of a dismal fate.  I can hear the spider behind me, warming up, flicking the whip, marking his targets on my body, my wings too shredded for further flight.

What am I searching for?  I thought salvation, but there was little of that.  Perhaps transcendence?  At this point, I would settle for any transformation out of here.

The whip caught me by surprise. I jerked forward, lifted six inches in flight with a high scream, the sound pairing pain and confused need.  Blackness poured in like oil and I went limp.

I awoke, the burn deep in my feathers.  Looking to both sides, my eyes now two sharpened orbs with 6x vision.  Hooked beak, my feet wicked talons.  A furious shake and I was free of the web, free of the ropes.  Extending strong wings, I flew to the top of the beam.  With a loud hawk hunting call I surveyed the ground, hungry, need fulfilled – almost.

The spider saw me, only a moment of fear crossed its black eyes before bowing his head to fate.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016








“The Shibari Series”, part two: Spider Web

July 31, 2017
My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

This is a  series about transformation.  It might make some people uncomfortable.  Then I advise not to read. Spiders do that for me.  This was written when I was doing research for a novel, finally finished.  

Lady Nyo


Restrained by the hemp to a beam above and to posts at my sides, I was secure in a blue rope karada. It bunched my skin where it bound, creating its own mountains and valleys, distorting my natural figure.

Pain was the door, the portal, the whip applied until I cried “Mercy!”  I had slipped into an altered state, far from where pain ate at my flesh. Just back from subspace, I had dangled in the infinite where time stopped and a crude salvation was born.

Looking up at the ropes I was now in a spider web, frozen at all points, the fly caught, splayed in a hemp web 360.

I glanced behind me.  The spider was a big one, gently stroking my welts, drinking a glass of water, or perhaps it was green goo. He smiled, now aware I was conscious and with a questioning expression, picked up the single tail and shook it at me.


I smiled slyly.  Such gluttons we were, the spider and the fly.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017




“Metamorphosis II”

March 21, 2016

Full Moon, March 2011


“Laura, come to bed! What are you doing out there?”


Laura was doing nothing. Just drinking tea and looking out the

window, humming to herself.


She had lost weight, grown taciturn, seemed sexless. Harold,

confused, was getting on her last nerve.


She came into the bedroom. Harold, bald and boring, glared at her.


“What is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear me?”


Oh yes, thought Laura. Thirty years of marriage doesn’t stop up your

ears, just your mouth. And your heart.


Laura opened the closet to hang up her robe. Inside, on a hanger, was

a giant bat, its dull black wings wrapped around itself, hanging

upside down. Laura shoved it aside, looking for a hanger for her

robe. She got into bed and turned off the light.



The police looked at the carnage on the bed. Blood everywhere, a real

massacre. Something was wrong, damned if they could figure it out.

The wife, mute, had to be in shock. Weird batty woman.


Laura, her gown bloody, drinking tea, looked out the window. Under

the tree was a big dark man, standing with his arms wrapped around his

chest. He looked up and nodded.


Laura smiled back and winked.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2007-2016



“Metamorphosis VI”

May 31, 2012


Continuing the series…..

When Laura fell off the roof she smashed her ankle.  It took all of Bart’s Shibari bindings to stabilize her limb.  Now Laura was making Bart wait on her, wing and foot.  He wasn’t too happy with the ‘fetch’ thing but was puzzled why Laura’s wings hadn’t worked.

“Bart,” Laura whined, “The ice melted in my drink.  Make me a fresh one, darlin’.”

Bart came from the kitchen, an apron tied around his middle.  He was pissed being a house-bat but what could he do? A dominant fruit bat, this apron went against his nature.  But the dishes had to be done, guano shoveled.

Inactivity made Laura horny.  She eyed Bart and flapped her pinkish wings alluringly.  Bart’s eyes gleamed as he climbed between them.  He began to nuzzle her belly, but lost his head.  Laura  had used a new perfume, “Peaches and Cream”.

“Bart! I’m not a cantaloupe. Your teeth are sharp!” 

“Sorry, Laura.  I’m just following my nature.”

Of all kinds of bats in the world, I get a fruit bat, thought Laura.  Life is unfair.

But he did look cute in that frilled apron.  The big bow on his butt suited him.

Nature be damned.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2012

from the “Shibari Series”

January 31, 2009

I don’t know.  Perhaps I am just too tired to evaluate this whole issue of the binding, etc. right now.  I do know that my thought processes have been interrupted, my attention span disrupted with the news (unexpected) last night of the status of “Seasoning”.

I’ve heard from a lot of people about the poem “Shibari”.  Some are practicing shibari experts, some are not, just curious about the subspace issue, others more interested in the power exchange.

Right now I am shifting through the emails, and later will come up with an entry, trying to cobble the different opinions and points of view on this event.

So, I will do what I usually do when I am full of doubt and confusion.  I will post a piece of work and avoid ( in this case) or probably complicate the questions.

Lady Nyo….and thanks to the usual suspects…

FROM THE SHIBARI SERIES….#1 included in “A Seasoning of Lust”.

Japanese hemp coiled about the torso, creating diamonds where there was once only skin, looping back upon itself, over and over. Breasts now defined by a rope cut-out bra, while waist, love handles, now enclosed in more diamonds, thighs entwined.  Added turns and thin jute split my cleft with a hard caress, the large knot on the bottom shifting upward. It would tease in mid air.

Dance comes from the earth, through the feet, up and out, giving shape to song. This time I would dance in flight, the pull of ropes challenging gravity, compounding my efforts.

Movements liquid and extreme startled me, the kikkou and hemp anchored me in space, my first taste of freedom in the ropes.  Suddenly I felt the sting of a whip and I jerked out of time to the beat. I fell deeper into the dance, determined to continue.  Again the whip’s sting and I faced a split reality: pain or pleasure. I went inward, deep into the music and rhythm, where movement was birthed and pain banished.

I flew, hollow bird bones filled with joy.  Cradled within the ropes I spiraled up from heavy earth.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008, 2009

Cocoon….a piece of poety.

October 16, 2008


“Look.” It moves in my hand.
“Go lie down. Got an idea.”

He tears a silk sheet and wraps me like a mummy,
Leaving the naughty parts exposed,
Suspending me from the ceiling.

I twirl in the morning sunlight, the rotating crystal balls
At the window, throwing their fractured light on my shivering form.

He left me this way
And didn’t come back.
It was a mercy.

I spin slowly in the warm, damp darkness,
My arms scaling in peacock colors under the silk.

Life finds a way, even transforming the species.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008

Belly Dance and Spiritual Seekings…

October 2, 2008

I have been a belly dancer for about five years now, trained in Turkish/Egyptian style.  I find that it is more challenging than anything I have ever done.  It also taps into great issues of femininity and sexuality.

Over the years I have changed in my approach to dancing, and have grown in small ways.  This is not a discipline that you get fast results, well you do, but women start to dance in Middle Eastern countries and Africa at 3 years old.  Young girls watch village women dance at festivals and train all their lives.

Belly dance was not the dance of enticement that we Westerners supposed.  It came from birth movements, or exercise to strengthen the body, the pelvis to allow easier birth.  These things are important when there is no hospital around but ‘just’ the village midwife and women to attend birthing.

However, dance has always been a religious or spiritual expression in many countries.  Hindu temple dancers, the Bali dancers, the Zars in Egypt and other countries, the guerdra forms express the application to movement to spiritual practice.

Delilah is a Seattle bellydancer I have talked to for a while.  She is well trained and quite the professional.  She also preaches dance as a spiritual connection.  Connection with spirituality isn’t something you try on like a new costume. It’s a transcendental everyday practice for her.

As she says: “It opens the heart.”

Earlier this summer I attended a synagogue.  There were young girls in a front corner of the synagogue dancing all through the service.  It was fitting and lovely.  It amazed me how natural these dances were in this setting and how much it gave a sense of joy and purpose to the morning.
The Lutheran and Episcopalian denominations of Christianity have been progressive in introducing liturgical dance to the altar at their church services. Although most of their dance workshops are focused on modern and ballet, some Middle Eastern dance artists have successfully introduced this art form to their congregations as liturgical dance.  The costuming is not the usual nightclub garb, but more modest clothing.  They are able to create a mood of worship.

The Unitarian church has long supported the use of dance at the altar.

These are just Christian and Jewish models.

I have thought very recently of my own practices.  I have, as I grew older, looked for spiritual paths.  As a former Quaker, these were not movement based, but as a belly dancer, the world opens up for me in this.

I have attended one Zar-like event, where a woman danced out her possession.  The ‘spirit’ was ‘caught’ by a women who was a Sheikah.

Why not?  This was a deeply believed experience, and the woman who was formerly possessed by what her culture said was a demonic spirit was ‘healed’.  These Zars have come under attack all over the Middle East, but not for good reasons.  They are some of the only alternative spiritual events that Muslim women have besides the mosque.  They are born of centuries of tradition and go back to Egyptian and African practices.  They are very much spiritual in nature.

I think of my own practice, and I know that dancing transforms my thinking, my moods and in some very fundamental way, grounds me.  It also transforms me, my body over a period of time, but my head. too. I think my head even more fundamentally.

I think my dancing, that strength that comes from doing something you love and seeing the remarkable abilities and potential of your body to move in ways you never thought possible translates to something akin to spiritual.

It also translates into self-esteem and an internal core of strength to face others who will challenge you. I had a pretty good sense of self before, but dancing has come through at a time I thought I was losing it.  It is very much a part of my personality now and it has the greatest potential for further spiritual development.

I think of how dancing transforms me.  In public, people tell me that my facial expression is very different from my ‘normal’ day ‘look’ and I have to laugh.  I am sometimes in a trance when I dance, or when I drum.  This is nothing unusual, because particular beats, rhythms, in particular the ayyoub beat or rhythm throws a dancer into a very different state of mind.  Sometimes this is helpful to get through a five minute performance. You conserve energy by ‘going places’. But mostly, it is the ‘connection’ you are making with the music internally, and it is the essence of dance to me.

Consciously applied, it has great spiritual possibilities I believe. I know it, as other dancers have either told me their spiritual path through their dancing or I have read of it.

I am about to do something very radical and risky for Teela (my dance name) I am about to chuck most of what I have learned over the past five years and endeavour to learn something very new and exciting.  I think it is part of this spiritual quest.

In late January, I will be in Montreal, Canada to attend a workshop/conference and a Dance event.  This is a Tribal Fusion Dance event taught by Audra Simmons, a TF dancer based in Toronto.  This will be a radical rupture for me because much of what I have learned will not apply.

Tribal Fusion is very different from classical belly dance.  The arms are very different, the body is held differently, there is a great freedom of flow in the core that I don’t see in  Turkish technique.  The makeup is extreme, the tattoos are prominant (I wonder if you can get stick on temporary tattoos???) the costuming is wild, the snake movement of the belly (“Snakes in the Belly”) is extreme, everything about tribal is different and extreme.

And exciting!

Go to Youtube and watch anything by Rachel Brice.

This is good for starters…

I am embarking on strange territory, and all my expensive cabaret costumes will be ditched…or thrown in the back of the closet.

It’s time for  a radical change that will bring me closer to my core and outward towards the Spirit and back again.

Teela and Lady in the same woman.

%d bloggers like this: